Most of us have been taught that it is nobler to give than to receive. At work, this may translate into always saying yes and doing whatever it takes to be a “team player.” While this may feel good and is usually rewarded by your colleagues and higher-ups, giving too much of your time and energy can be detrimental to both your physical and emotional health, leading to anxiety, overwhelm and burnout. Eventually this impacts the company too.
Take the following quiz and answer yes or no to see if giving it all away is steering you down the road to burnout at work.
- I force myself to work even when I am sick, because I think someone else’s needs are greater than mine. Y or N
- I hate conflict, so I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid it, which often means doing something I don’t want to do. Y or N
- If I don’t answer all phone calls or emails immediately then I feel guilty. Y or N
- In order to provide luxuries for my family I work more hours than I want to. Y or N
- I schedule my work time around my company’s or clients’ needs rather than around my own. Y or N
- I volunteer on committees or extra projects even if I don’t have the time. Y or N
- I fear that people won’t like me if I say no. Y or N
- I’m the person everyone calls when they need help: proofreading, filling in a shift, taking over a customer complaint, etc. Y or N
- My supervisor’s satisfaction comes before mine. I’ll do whatever it takes to make him or her happy. Y or N
- I have a hard time saying no to a supervisor, colleague or client because I want him or her to be happy, even if saying yes makes me unhappy, stressed out or overworked. Y or N
If you answered yes more often than not, watch your step! You are heading down the road to job burnout, and while you may hate your job, you hate the idea of standing up for yourself more. But beware, because you are also risking your physical health and emotional well-being. And when those are out of whack, they have a way of getting your attention.
Just having this awareness about your situation can help. You may notice that you think twice before automatically agreeing to every request that comes across your desk. When my clients reach this stage, I help them with the next step: setting and strengthening their boundaries.
The fact is that you need to teach others how to treat you. I can tell you for sure that if you don’t take care of yourself first, nobody else is going to. Ask yourself what works for you and what doesn’t. Until you do, everyone from your boss to your co-workers (and even your mate) will expect you to keep giving them everything they ask for—leaving nothing left for you.
To learn some additional insights take the FREE Career Burnout Assessment to find out how much you really do hate your job!
Some author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications